- On 12 Apr 2011
50th Anniversary of Gagarin Space Flight
April 12th, 1961 - First human in space
Fifty years ago today Yuri Gagarin and the Soviet Union successfully completed the first ever flight into space. Gagarin became a national hero and the Soviet Union celebrated winning the so-called space race.
In the West, memories swarm around Neil Armstrong and Apollo, but in Russia the legend of Gagarin dominates. This week in Russia there will be several celebrations commemorating Gagarin's historic flight fifty years ago. Even around the world there will be celebrations and monuments erected in the name of Gagarin for his great contribution to the field of space travel.
Gagarin died in 1968 while flying a Mig-15 during a training exercise. There have been conflicting reports to the cause of the crash, but the official statement was that a sharp maneuver was made in order to avoid a weather ballon or something similar. Gagarin's body was cremated and buried in the walls of the Kremlin in Moscow.